Books on totalitarian states become popular products

“1984,” George Orwell’s classic novel of a future gone wrong is seeing a spike in sales in the wake of the news this past week that the U.S. government operates a vast surveillance program monitoring phone calls and Internet use to track down possible terrorists.

Several editions of the book, which is about an omnipresent and totalitarian surveillance state, were among’s top 200 sellers as of June 11. “1984” was first published in 1949 and has been required reading in many high schools and colleges ever since.

The book also provided the theme for a famous television commercial introducing the Apple company’s first Macintosh computer in 1984.

Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” another futuristic novel in which individuality is crushed by an omnipresent government, also has had increased sales on the online bookseller and was reported out of stock.

Orwell’s “1984” book was mentioned by President Barack Obama last Friday when he defended the NSA surveillance programs.

“In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance,” the president said.

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